The advantages of buddying young children to older ones are often discussed in citizenship, but I have expanded this to include many other areas of the curriculum. Our P5 (Year 4) children work with five-year-olds for a paired writing project. Many aspects of writing are introduced or consolidated, such as character, setting and plot, with P5s explaining these terms to their buddies. The results are excellent and are easily achievable.
Children make a cylinder character using materials such as used kitchen rolls and give him or her a name. They make sketches of the setting in which their character lives - Cylinder City. They then discuss plot orproblem and in the last session each pair produces a book depicting their character's adventures. A writing frame is used: page 1, introduce character; page 2, introduce setting; page 3: introduce the problem, eg - "a secret"; page 4: how the problem is resolved; final page: happy ever after. The younger pupils love to read each other's stories, and many talking and listening activities arise, both during the creative process and when the finished books are reviewed. The system is also used in reading, maths and structured play.
Lorna Sweeney, primary 1 teacher, Springhill Primary School, Glasgow